The Leader of Opposition, Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday hit out at the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over his allegation that the Centre is using the seizure of drugs in the cruise liner case to defame the state. He asked Thackeray whether he was on the side of drug consumers, sellers, or those fighting against the drug menace.
On Friday, Thackeray had attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for deploying the central probe agencies -- the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Income Tax department and the Narcotics Control Bureau -- to discredit the state and hound political opponents.
“Today, drugs are like cancer that has afflicted our youth. Whose side are you on?” questioned Fadnavis.
He further took a dig at Thackeray, saying that he should worry about the corruption in his government.
“The way things are unfolding during the Income Tax raids in the state, his name will be recorded as the chief of the most corrupt government in Maharashtra,” he stated. “Some Ministers even have a software for ‘vasuli’ (extortion),” Fadnavis charged
Fadnavis strongly defended the ongoing probes by the CBI and ED, saying that they are taking action against people because they have indulged in corruption.
“These agencies were working on the orders of the high court and the reason for that is the government headed by you. If we had to use central investigating agencies, then half of your ministers would have been in jail.”
The former chief minister said that Thackeray’s Dussehra speech was an example of frustration. “We will not allow them to bring in Maharashtra the Bengal pattern of killings and atrocities; nor will we let them change the Constitution given by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. You may try to defame the BJP, but the party is firmly grounded,” he added.
Fadnavis further claimed that Thackeray had the ambition to become the Chief Minister, and he fulfilled it by giving up his electoral mandate. “It is not bad to have ambition, but leave philosophy behind. Then, why no Shiv Sainik has been made the Chief Minister?” he asked.
Thackeray, in his speech, had said that the BJP, being the number one party with the largest members, had to borrow candidates from other parties. “Why should they tell us as that half of the party (the Shiv Sena) relies on outsiders? We gave some candidates to them.”
On Thackeray daring the BJP to topple the MVA government, Fadnavis said, ''let them first show the government is functioning''. "You are saying that the people rejected the BJP, but in fact they rejected the NCP-Congress and promoted you (Shiv Sena). Out of the seats that we fought together (in the 2019 Assembly polls), the BJP had won nearly 70 per cent and the Shiv Sena had won 45 per cent. Hence, you were dishonest with the people and came to power," he said.
Responding to the charges levelled by Fadnavis, NCP minister Nawab Malik said that they are not scared even if the entire cabinet is jailed by using the central probe agencies. He asked Fadnavis to maintain restraint while levelling corruption charges and announced that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government would soon expose corruption cases during the Fadnavis-led dispensation.
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